Don’t Use Your Customers to Train Your Technicians

Steve Stone

As an owner, you should be riding along with your technicians at least once a month to determine if they are using your best practice standards. You definitely want to ride along with your top tech as well as your weakest tech so you can see first hand where your strengths and weaknesses are. You want to clone your strengths throughout your organization.

UPS utilizes ride-alongs every day in their business. Their ride-alongs track the time it takes a driver to get to a delivery and turn the ignition off to how long it takes to get to the door and then fire the truck back up.  They know this is an effective way to monitor the expectations they have set for their company. If UPS, which is a very successful company, is utilizing ride-alongs then you should be as well.

The best ride along is a surprise ride-along. Don’t tell your techs you’re coming with them. Have a checklist when you ride so you can cover the gamut. Is he saying the right things?  Is he courteous? Did he follow procedures to trade the job? Are his hands clean? You should know these things if you truly want to be a successful, professional business. Then, it’s never about the price. Your price should never outweigh the value your company and technicians portray. If it is, you’re losing big time.

He’s are a few examples of a checklist I used when operating my 32-truck company.

1)   Is your technician’s truck clean on the outside and organized on the inside?

Your truck is your billboard. Your truck markets to your customers and potential customers as your technicians ride around or go into a neighborhood.  Your clients don’t want to see a dirty truck.  Make sure there is nothing on the dashboard of a truck. There’s nothing worse than a messy dashboard because #1- it’s a safety issue and #2 – it portrays your tech is unorganized.

2)   Is your technician’s uniform clean?

If you are getting your uniforms cleaned by a professional cleaning company, pay attention to what does and does not get washed out. When a technician has glue on their hands and wipes them on their uniform, 9 times out of 10 that glue will not wash out of their uniform. So, even when you have uniforms cleaned on a regular basis, they may still be faded or have stuff on them that simply can’t be washed out. If you find your technicians are wiping their hands on their uniform when they could be using towels, hold them responsible for replacing their uniforms. This will connect brain to pocketbook and distinguish normal wear and tear from uniform abuse.

3)   Is your tech groomed properly based on your best practice standards?

Are his shoes polished? Are his beard and hair trimmed? Are his hands and fingernails clean when he’s pointing to the benefits, warranties and guarantees on a work order? Is he wearing his Trust Me® ID Badge? Does he smell like smoke? All of these things reflect your ability to trade a job. Customers always find more value in what they can see rather than what they hear.

4)   Is your technician staying clean from job to job?

Is he wearing coveralls when climbing under the house?  Is he wearing shoe covers to prevent tracking dirt and mud into the customer’s home?

5)   Is your technician on time?

Did your technician arrive before or at the time your call center told the customer he would? This is a great time to check your dispatch department to make sure they are managing and monitoring calls properly. You need to know if your techs are arriving within the allotted timeframe your dispatch department is telling the customer they should.

6)   Finally, when he is explaining the job he is going to do, is he tipping the scales?

Did he add more value versus price? Remember, your price should never outweigh the value your company and technicians portray.  Your technician should always be able to effectively communicate the value in your services to clients and prospective clients.




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